Vancouver Tips

You’re so Van… || Vancouver Tips

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… you probably think this blog is about you. Vancouver has every reason to be vain. It is my absolute favourite city in the whole wide world and I’ve only had two teaser trips to it! Here are my Vancouver tips, so far!

Craig and I are now stationary in Canada for six months after four months on the road. We are living on the Sunshine Coast, which is as glorious as it sounds but we’ve managed to squeeze in two trips to The Big Smoke during our first month in BC and within that short period of time I’ve concluded that Van has something to offer everyone.

We were in Vancouver for 2 reasons

1. To meet my parents who have been on a three week holiday all over BC (including a road trip around the Sunshine Coast with us Two Scots)

2. To house hunt! We are moving to Vancouver in September and really hoped to sort a pad out to avoid a third trip down (for financial reasons)

Anyway, enough of my emotional crap, here is what we did in our next 72 hours in Vancouver (here is the first 24 hours in Vancouver

Vancouver tips – Mountains

Grouse Mountain is part of the North Shore Mountains which you can see from downtown Vancouver. To get there you have to take the Grouse Mountain Skyride, which takes you to the summit at 4,100 feet above sea level. Or you could endure The Grouse Grind aka Mother Nature’s Stairmaster, depending on fitness levels this trek may take you one and a half hours! There are numerous activities on the mountain such as the Birds in Motion show, observing the two grizzlies – Grinder and Coola (or even have breakfast with them) and a lumberjack show which has just the right level of cringe to make it adult bearable and family friendly. The highlight for me was the chairlift, great heights and even greater views of Vancouver.

Lumberjack Show Grouse Mountain Vancouver Tips

Life is a Beach in Vancouver

Vancouver has nine beaches (eight by the sea and one by freshwater.) Incredible! We visited Second Beach in Stanley Park at dusk before we caught the outdoor film on the Tuesday (free!) My parents spent time there during the day and took advantage of the lido. I’m looking forward to going back.

Second Beach Stanley Park Sunset Vancouver Tips

One of the areas we were apartment hunting in was Kitsilano, which is affectionately called Kits. This beach is well used but not too busy and there are lots of stranded logs which can be used as leaning posts. Our new apartment is only four blocks away so give us a wave! Kits is a cool area full of cafes, independent shops, commercial stores and yoga which is ideal for this yogi bear.

Kitsilano Beach Vancouver Tips

Vancouver Park Life

Every city needs a park and Vancouver blows every city out of the water with Stanley Park. Stanley Park is 1,000 acres in size. Outdoorsy types take advantage of the running space; tourists visit Vancouver Aquarium and us Scots abuse a free movie provided by Fresh Air Cinema. What movie? I hear you cry… None other than Grease Sing-Along. Obviously Craig’s first choice. Awellah-wellah-wellah-oo! Tell me more…

Bobby, You’re a Firework

Ok, this joke only works if you know that my Dad is called Bobby. Bobby, you’re a rocket would be a more accurate title. It was really kind of Vancouver Tourism to put on a firework display to wave off my parents back to Scotland. It was nothing to do with Honda and The Celebration of Lights competition. We joined the masses at the bottom of Davie Street (Bobby still can’t get used to seeing men in drag) to watch Brazil’s attempt to bang their way to first place.

Celebration of Lights Davie Street Vancouver Tips


There are so many neighbourhoods in Vancouver which offer unique drinking experiences.

East Van

Commercial Drive is bustling with edgy drinking haunts which have a bit of a raw feel to them, not to say that they are cheap mind you. We passed a gay poetry slam doing down in an open front bar, pretty different.

North Van

We took the sea taxi back from Grouse Mountain (362 bus to Lonsdale) which gave us the chance to take a nosey at Lonsdale Market, plenty of food opportunities to soak up a hangover the day after (although Mum also loved Granville Market, need to check it out.)

Downtown Vancouver

A much needed beer cocktail was consumed in Gastown and contraband was purchased for the dry open air movie night (the only thing getting Craig through Summer Lovin’)

Kitsilano & Main

Although Kits may come with a hippy vibe where your encouraged to sip Chai Latte over hard lemonade there are plenty of wet bars sprinkled throughout the area (4th Avenue and Broadway), many with patios so you can soak up the sun. Close to Kits is the new hipster area in town – Main Street! Lots of cool bars and vintage shops, I actually bought my wedding dress here!

West Van

West is best, so many say. It’s too early for me to decide but I do love the consistent electric vibe of Davie Street. As well as the pink bus stops and rainbow zebra crossings of course! Absolutely gutted we are missing Pride Week by a few days.

Granville Street

What us Scots would call ‘The Sauchiehall Street’ of Vancouver which is the go to street for bars, gigs and clubs in Glasgow. You can trip over drunks until 3am any day of the week (I’ll be there staring longingly at the Topshop window.)

Granville Street Vancouver Tips


Have you had a slurpy when you are hot or hungover? Enough said.

You Wanna Pizza Me?

Pizza by the slice at any time of the day. Our heaven.

There are so many reasons which would let Vancouver off for being vain and by the smiles on Vancouverites’ faces day in and day out, the city pleases the masses too.

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You're so Van... you probably think this blog is about you! Vancouver, you have every right to be vain & here is why - essential guide to Vancouver Tips.

Now that is us back on the ferry to Roberts Creek, another appeal of Vancouver is that you can escape to nature within a forty minute ferry ride.

Have you been to Vancouver?
Would you like to go? 

Gemma and Craig are full-time workers with a life-long travel habit. Flirting with 30 and let loose on the world! Gemma writes, Craig looks good in the photos.

Comments 10

  1. A) You’re selling me on Vancouver! I need to get my Passport issues sorted so I can come see what is so great about it!

    B) We’re city-neighbors! Say hello if you ever come to Seattle 🙂

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      1. Just keep me posted on your travel dates — I’m pretty confident I’ll be around, so I’d love to meet up, grab a coffee, be stereotypical Seattle tourists 😉

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  2. I was living in around the commercial/Broadway area of Van. Commercial has lots of cool areas too. If you go, stop by Donald’s on the way home for epic vegetable/fruit shopping!

    PS. Nine x 7 =? Hardest robot test I’ve seen below lol

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      1. In that case, I liked working at Epicurean Gluten Free Cafe (if you see Rachel there say hi from Jub!) and ‘The Tank’ bar is also nice to work from 🙂

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